Life History and Skeletal Biology

Primates and other organisms show considerable diversity in life history strategies - or the ways in which they invest in growth, reproduction and survival to maximize reproductive success over the course of their lives. What ecological, social and biological factors shape variation in life history strategies?  How do trajectories of growth and maturation in humans compare to those of our primate relatives?  Finally, what retrospective information do bones and teeth reveal about primate life history strategies, as well as the biological, social and ecological contexts shaping variation in these strategies today and over evolutionary time frames?

Primate Life History Lab page

In the Primate Life History Lab, we approach these and other questions through two main lenses: (1) observational studies of individually-known study subjects from several long-term primate study sites in the wild, and (2) focused hard tissue examinations of naturally accumulated skeletal remains from these same populations.  By integrating developmental, behavioral, ecological, physiological and hard tissue datasets from well-documented populations, this offers unique opportunities to bridge studies of primate life history in both modern and past contexts, and thus contribute towards a more comprehensive understanding of primate life history evolution.


Contact Details

Shannon C. McFarlin
Lab Director, Associate Professor
Phone: 202-994-4245
Email: [email protected]

Science and Engineering Hall
800 22nd St NW, Suite 6000
Washington, DC 20052